The Lord moves in mysterious ways, but He is rarely so mean to His creation as in Mr lves' Christmas, the new novel by Oscar Hijuelos. This is a tale of death, destruction and unfairness in the face of selfless piety. Hijuelos is best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, about a Cuban family and their love of music, sex and alcohol. Mr Ives' Christmas is set in the same New York Latin American ghettos, but its focus is firmly on the darker side of life.
Edward lves is a foundling who loves his adoptive family, worships God devoutly — never passing a church without crossing himself — and works hard to succeed as an illustrator. He marries a beautiful and intelligent woman, Annie, and when they have two children, Robert and Caroline, Ives thinks his